Religion Prof: The Blog of James F. McGrath
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
For more from Harry Emerson Fosdick, see his famous sermon, “Shall The Fundamentalists Win?”
Happy Easter Dr.McGrath! #HeisRisen
I completely disagree with both the spirit and letter of this quote. I would not like to be stuck in the Paleolithic, but live in a time when most of the world’s mysteries are no longer mysterious.
I wonder why you understood the quote as I did. There is nothing backwards-looking in it. It is about appreciating the fact that we inhabit a cosmos that continues to surprise us, not about closing one’s mind to understanding it. And as to whether most mysteries are no longer mysterious, past assertions to that effect have regularly seemed premature in light of new discoveries.
I consider surprise and not having to close one’s mind to be a necessary evil, like government. I, for one, am glad that the mysteries of flight, infectious disease, and electromagnetic radiation are less mysterious than they used to be.
Indeed. I don’t see anything in the quote that is contrary to that sentiment. But would you really be happy if there were nothing left to discover, no new realms to explore, no new things to learn?
And I would prefer to live in a world where my mind was not too small to strive mightily to understand it.
Don’t you? Did you understand Fosdick to be saying otherwise?
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